Gorbachev raps US over Europe

The last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has lashed out at the US and its President, Barack Obama, for describing Russia as one of the major threats to global security and “provoking” quarrels in Europe.

“The main virus (in the world) is America and its leadership ambitions,” Gorbachev told the Russian News Service radio Friday in response to Obama’s speech before the UN General Assembly, in which he termed the Ebola epidemic, Russia and jihadis of the Islamic State (IS) as the world’s main threats.

Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev

Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its disappearance in 1991, said the US’s main goal was “to do harm, provoke and, most importantly, not to allow quarrels in Europe to subside”.

The current crisis in Ukraine and other issues were only US pretexts to monopolise power, he added.

However, he said that despite the ongoing tension between Russia and the West, unprecedented since the fall of the Soviet Union, he did not think the world was on the brink of a new cold war.

The man who, along with US President Ronald Reagan, did the most to end the last Cold War recalled it was difficult to change the course of relations with the US during his leadership.

“It was also difficult for our citizens, who thought that we would not find common ground with them, but the United States is a big country and we should have good relations,” Gorbachev said.

Despite his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev backed the reunification of the Crimean peninsula with Russia earlier this year and Moscow’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis.